Kasab trial at crucial crossroads
Kartikeya, TNN 23 July 2009, 02:53am IST / Source : The Times of India
MUMBAI: For the past three days, Pakistani gunman Ajmal Amir Kasab has confessed to his involvement in the deadly 26/11 attacks that crippled Mumbai back in November and has stuck to his stand that his confession was given voluntarily and “under no pressure”. He has asked for the trial to end and that he be punished. On Wednesday, he went so far as to say that he is ready to be hanged for his crime.
These sudden and dramatic developments have opened up a host of legal options for special judge M L Tahaliyani. Several legal experts observed that this could be the end of what could otherwise have been a lengthy trial. “The judge should admit the plea of guilt and immediately move to sentencing Kasab. There is no need to waste any more time and money on this trial,” said noted criminal lawyer Mahesh Jethmalani.
If the court accepts Kasab’s guilt on Thursday, legal eagles think the trial could be wrapped up within days if Kasab’s sentencing follows. “We must remember that there are two other co-accused (Fahim Ansari and Sahabuddin Ahmed) in the same trial and their cases will also have to be considered by the judge when he takes any decision on Kasab’s statement,” said criminal lawyer Majeed Memon.
There is a likelihood of separating the two co-accused’s trial from Kasab’s. Or, as Memon pointed out, “The court could also keep Kasab’s verdict aside and proceed with the other two accused.”
Special prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam wants another course of events. He wants the court to keep Kasab’s guilty plea on record, but proceed with the trial. He has said that Kasab has made a “half-hearted” statement in which he has left out many details of the overall crime. Nikam wants to fill in those aspects of the conspiracy that have been alleged by the prosecution but not admitted by Kasab. Nikam may also ask Kasab to give a further statement in respect to incidents where all evidence has already been examined by the court. These include the killings at CST, the murder of navigator Amar Singh Solanki and the killing of constable Tukaram Ombale at Marine Drive.
“He has been shrewd enough to pin the blame on other gunmen and portray himself as a minor subordinate in the entire incident,” Nikam said.
Nikam said, if the trial continues, he would not want to prolong it under any circumstances. “I will try to finish it off in a month. I may examine only the most crucial witnesses to save time,” he told TOI.
Another scenario that could develop is linked to the stand taken by Kasab’s lawyer Abbas Kazmi, who has said that the court should “either accept Kasab’s statement or reject it outright”. In other words, no keeping it on record and using it as corroborative evidence. “If the confession is thrown out, it cannot be used against him and the trial will proceed,” Kazmi said.
Memon also pointed out, “According to the legal system, the court can embark on a brief enquiry to ascertain whether Kasab’s confession was voluntary.”
Noted advocate Yug Chaudhary said, “The matter is now solely at the discretion of the judge. He will decide whether to admit the plea of guilt or continue with the trial.”
No kabab for Kasab
Manas Gupta Friday August 07, 2009 / Source : The Times of India blog
Mohammed Ajmal Kasab wants to eat mutton biryani. Apparently, he does not like jail food. Maybe it’s too fattening. Well, I’ve got noose er news for you. According to reliable sources, a goat was requisitioned to be served to Kasab but it flatly refused. It (the goat that is) has now filed a PIL seeking a stay on insulting Indian animals by serving them to bloodthirsty terrorists.
This entire trial is now becoming a joke. The man who massacred so many Indians on that fateful day in Mumbai is behaving like a spoilt celebrity, and the world is laughing at us.
Just look at the list of demands the man has made. He wants toothpaste, an Urdu newspaper, perfume and now mutton biryani. Will somebody tell this guy he’s not on an all-expense paid vacation. Toothpaste I can understand, he wants to wash that dirty mouth. But why the perfume? I wonder which girl he’s planning to impress behind bars. As for the newspaper, I say give him one… only roll it up and hit him on the nose with it whenever he throws a tantrum. Believe me, it works. At least it did for my spoilt Pomeranian.
What next? How about an LCD TV, a split AC, a king-sized bed, a Blackberry and a Bentley for transportation to court? If we are treating him like a VVIP and keeping him in a fortress, we might as well go the whole hog. In fact, why not give him an entry to Rakhi’s swayamvar? On second thoughts no, such torture might anger amnesty international.
The other day, he asked for permission to stroll outside his jail cell. A walk on the wild side, eh? I think walking won’t make him very fit. What he needs is to run. I am partial to those contraptions in labs which have mice and hamsters constantly running, spinning the wheel as they do. That would be fun…to watch.
He also wanted someone to tie him a rakhi on Rakshabandhan. Don’t worry dude. We’re readying a large one for you. Only this one goes around your neck. Hasta la vista baby.
Disclaimer: Taking my articles seriously can be injurious to your sense of humour. Please note that this blog is only intended to lampoon people and events. Also, the views published here are entirely my own and not my employer’s.
Take Kasab at his word, hang him
Ravi Rao, Tuesday July 21, 2009 /Source : The Times of India blog
Pakistani hitman Ajmal Amir Kasab has finally admitted in court what the world (at least all of Mumbai) knew. That he and his evil band of brothers landed in aamchi Mumbai with the express purpose of unleashing a mind-numbing, bone-chilling wave of terror; shooting and bombing indiscriminately, mowing down innocent civilians, cops, rich man, poor man and middle class woman in cold blood. I was at work that nightmare, one that stretched close to 60 agonising hours and left hundreds slain or maimed, and lakhs of others psychologically scarred for life. That evening, the TOI newsroom was just coming to terms with a sluggish news flow. The weather outside was fit to cry, almost portending Mumbai’s worst non-natural tragedy. Then the news exploded: a handful of gunmen had terrorised Colaba Causeway, were on their way to Fountain, then CST…. As the live reports of our brave lensmen and reporters brought home the chilling horror, we watched as two stocky figures plodded their way up the bridge on Platform No 1. From our third floor office, the duo—silhouetted against the skylight and framed in the stained glass windows of CST—looked like a couple of overblown circus performers—it would have been funny were it not so terrifying. Here was terror up, close and personal—and it was a nasty sight. Even as the tense hours inched by, our work was proceeding apace with instructions, assignments, advisories (and warnings!) flying across the newsroom, and page dummies being drawn and redrawn countlessly. Fortunately, nine of the Gang of Ten eventually bit the dust, with Kasab becoming the sole major terrorist to be caught alive in the act anywhere in the world. The trial of 26/11 would have joined countless others in the Mumbaikar’s cynical memory — well-meaning but ponderous, weighed down by legal nicety and political nitty-gritty, and hearings without end. While all of Mumbai waited for justice, deliverance seemed to have become a tamasha of our times. Kasab is unwell, Kasab is home-sick, Kasab wants newspapers, Kasab wants chicken, his lawyer wants this, the Pak government wants that…. Now that he has confessed to his crimes against humanity (his own parents must be dying a hundred deaths everyday grieving for the monster son they have brought into this world), it’s time the special judge gets cracking and sees to it that the trial is completed at the earliest. For Pakistan, Kasab may be a mere pawn in the high-stakes world of politics and global diplomacy, but for India, he is the face of living terror. One who has shot down hundreds and thousands of lives and left a gaping hole in the heart of the metropolis. In the backyard of reason, there dwell passion and compassion, squabbling inmates who fight for and against capital punishment as a deterrent in a world civilized and uncivilized by turns. In Kasab’s case, let there be room for no doubt. All the major charges against him merit the maximum penalty. His co-terrorisers may have cheated death (and justice) the wrong way. Kasab musn’t. He’s done it, let him hang for it.